How to Propagate Strawberries
A highlight of the british summer, strawberries can be grown at home and are easy to propagate.
Considering their exquisite taste, strawberries are very easy to propagate. You would think that such a luxurious food would be a bit tricky to grow, not at all, propagating strawberries is something that you can do at home.
The easiest way to propagate strawberries is from an existing strawberry plant that you already have in your garden. Most strawberry cultivars produce young plantlets along their stems, this is a natural process that we can take advantage of.
Propagation by Layering
Layering of these stems or 'runners' involves pinning the stem to the soil surface or pot of compost and severing the young plantlet when it has taken root. This is best done in late summer. Because strawberries naturally send out these runners and young plantlets root along their lengths it is not always necessary to pin down the stem in order for the plantlet to root.
If you want to propagate your own strawberries in your garden it is best to start afresh by investing in a few virus free parent plants from a good nursery. 2 or 3 plants should be enough if you want to propagate enough new plants to fill a strawberry patch. If you already have an established strawberry patch in your garden and are aiming to start another, maybe of a different variety then keep it well away from the established patch which might have virus carrying plants in it.
The first thing to do with the parent plants that you intend to propagate from is not to allow them to flower. This encourages them to produce plenty of runners that will produce the young plantlets. As the runners develop and spread out from the parent plants they will root and produce the young plantlets at the points where they root, you can encourage this by pinning the runners down carefully, maybe with a tent peg.
Once the young plantlets have rooted, lift them carefully with a handfork or trowel, being careful not to damage the roots. You can then severe the plantlets from the runners and move them to their new home or pot them up and grow them on.
Propagating strawberries by layering is by far the easiest method, but new plants can also be grown from seed or large plants can be carefully divided.